Grateful Clitheroe mum's 874-mile charity challenge after teenage son marks end of cancer treatment
A Clitheroe mum whose son was diagnosed with cancer aged just 13 is putting her best foot forward and walking/running from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for heroic charities that have helped the family.
Teresa (Tess) Walker (41), has set herself a target of completing the 874-mile fundraising walk/run, which began on January 1st, in 10 months.
Mother-of-three Tess decided to take on the "Miles for Warriors" mission after meeting so many "brave, strong warriors" at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where her teenage son, Drew, was being treated.
She aims to raise £4,000 to support the charities who have stood by the family through the "nightmare" experienced in the last five months.
She explained: "September 2020 saw our son collapse at the Swan Courtyard in Clitheroe, before being rushed by ambulance to resuscitation. He was transferred to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital after a scan showed an image. There, he was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, cancer in the lymph nodes. They found an 8cm tumour behind his nose, sat against his brain. It had grown into his ear, nose and he was taken to the Intensive Care Unit after it began pushing his palette down, closing his airways. We never thought we would sit there as parents being told that our son had cancer."
Over the last five months, Drew, who is a pupil at St Augustine's RC High School, Billington, has been in and out of hospital undergoing chemotherapy, but the family experienced a huge milestone just a few days before Christmas when brave Drew rang a bell to celebrate beating the cancer.
Tess said: "He’s still extremely fatigued, but very much looking forward to building his strength and returning to school when it reopens and playing football when he’s ready."
Tess and her husband Mark (43), are very well known in the town running the popular Walkers fruit and vegetable stall on Clitheroe Market. The couple, who also have Reuben (15) and 10-year-old Brodie, say since the beginning of the fundraising challenge, which was posted on Facebook, the support has been overwhelming. So much so, Tess has had people reach out from as far as Australia to support her cause!
"The support has been unbelievable! I posted our story on social media thinking a couple of friends might join in, then, before I knew it and in less than a week, I had more than 50 people asking if they to could do the challenge covering the miles themselves! A member of the group is in Melbourne, Australia another in Cumbria. Some are running, walking, rowing or even cycling to cover their miles. It’s a challenge that most are able to join in and on average works out at three miles a day or three marathons a month!"
She said: "I was trying to think of something challenging to raise some money to pass on to those that helped us during our time at the hospital. One being Milly’s Smiles, of Great Harwood. Emmies Kitchen of Manchester, who are currently covering the cost of takeaways every Friday from Nando's to fish and chips at a cost of approximately £300 week. This is a real pick me up. Drew, like many others admitted to the ward, were unable to visit their favourite food establishments. Fatboys are a small charity who read children’s diagnosis sent in by parents before asking and offering to purchase a Christmas gift.
Tess went on to express gratitude to the medical staff who helped and members of the community who supported the family during the emergency situation and challenging times that came after.
"We can’t thank the North West Ambulance service enough who took him from the Swan Courtyard to Blackburn then Manchester. The staff both in resuscitation and the children’s department at Blackburn were amazing as were all the intensive care team at Manchester, Dr Brennan his consultant and all of the nursing staff. We would like to thank everyone for their support, for the food left on our doorstep during such difficult times, the cards, gifts and wellwishes and to the people in the Swan Courtyard, who helped when he was led on the floor. One lady went to the market to inform dad, another to Boots the chemist and another lady who we know, helped assist Brodie home. Thank you."
Tess has raised £3,000 of her £4,000 target. Anyone wishing to support Tess is asked to clilck here.